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Inside Tech TalentDecoding the technology talent market in EMEA

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As AI development revolutionises the technological landscape and digitalisation continues to reshape our world, there's a growing gap in the availability of specialised tech talent.

Tech professionals are now crucial to almost every industry. Their skills ensure that businesses remain operational, efficient, and secure, and perhaps most importantly of all, they stop them from getting left behind.

But in such a stretched talent market, how do companies attract and retain the skills they need? What is most important to the technology talent of today, and how does this correlate with the challenges, attitudes, and strategic priorities of the businesses trying to secure their skills?

To answer these questions, Inside Tech Talent examines survey data and specialist expertise from across 20 countries in Mainland Europe and the Middle East. It explores today's workforce challenges, identifies possible solutions, and offers expert insight into the key tech roles that will lead the ongoing digital transformation.

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This study focuses on past, current, and arising trends in 14 labour markets in which Hays is present across mainland Europe and the Middle East.

The trends identified are based on the findings of recent surveys and the observations of our expert recruitment consultants assisting employers and professionals in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and the Middle East.

The design and definition of our survey questionnaires were carefully tailored, taking into account the unique attributes and business requirements of each market. While the local lens was a priority, we also ensured a broader understanding of global trends and variations to provide a holistic view of the current market and what we can expect in the future world of tech.

More detailed, market-specific information beyond tech can be found on our dedicated Salary Guide Hub.

The surveys were conducted online and gathered the views of 24,566 respondents of a broad range. 8,396 are employers from organisations of all sizes and sectors. 15,169 are professionals, including 1,504 tech professionals, under a variety of work arrangements including permanent, temporary, and freelance contracts, as well as unemployed professionals.

Responses from 1,001 employers in Austria, Germany and Switzerland also contributed to the Hays HR Report 2023 (available in German only).


Data and expert insights for this study have come from the following regions and countries in which Hays operates:

DACHGermany, Austria and Switzerland.

All RegionsFRABENELUX, CEE, Southern Europe, and the Middle East. For the purposes of this data, this term does not include DACH.

FRABENELUXFrance, Belgium, and The Netherlands for survey data. Expertise also includes Luxembourg.

CEE (Central Eastern Europe)Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary for survey data and expertise.

Southern EuropeSpain, Italy and Portugal for survey data and expertise.

Middle EastUAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar for survey data and expertise.

The participant groups described in this study identified themselves as per the below in the surveys:

EmployersRespondents that identified themselves as responsible for employment decisions.

ProfessionalsRespondents that identified themselves as not responsible for employment decisions.

LeadershipEmployers who identified themselves in a director role or above in organisations with over 250 employees.

Tech professionalsPeople who identified their profession as in the IT field.

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Organisations and business leaders have had to navigate a complex political and economic environment over the past few years. The focus, now more than ever, is on sustainable growth and business development. Linked to this are priorities for digitalising, automating, and optimising processes, for which specialist tech skills are a must.

Digitalisation is an enabler for organisations to be better positioned to achieve their strategic goals, streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and improve both customer and employee experience. The AI explosion into the mainstream market has only increased the volume and breadth of the discussions about how technology can be leveraged in the world of work.

Employers outside of Central Eastern and Southern Europe express cautious optimism about the effect of the economic climate on job creation. Drilling into responses in France, Poland, and Spain, despite a trend towards pessimism in the latter two countries, attracting and retaining the skills needed to power digital growth is still very much a key investment focus area.

If we focus purely on HR, employers in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (DACH) show similar priorities. The flexible work structures they desire require technological solutions, and retention takes primacy over attraction in this skills-rich market.

Process optimisation is in the top 3 investment focus areas for all employers in all regions…

43% Business Development

25% Process Optimisation

22% Strategy Development

19% Digitalisation

18% Employee Retention

*Respondents could choose 3 answers from 20 options.

Tech-driven transformation and workforce strategies become more apparent when we drill down into employer responses in France…

41% Business Development

33% Employee Retention

28% Recruitment

24% Strategy Development

23% Process Optimisation

20% Digitalisation

And Poland…

48% Business Development

27% Process Optimisation

26% Customer Experience

23% Product Development

21% Employee Retention

18% Digitalisation

And Spain…

49% Business Development

36% Product Development

32% Digitalisation

30% Process Optimisation

17% Automation

17% Innovation Management

However, employers in 2 of 4 EMEA subregions are less optimistic about the effects of the economic climate on job creation over the next 2-5 years:




80 60 40 20 0
All Regions FraBeNeLux CEE Southern Europe Middle East

From the employer's perspective in DACH, employee retention and flexible work structures are key focus areas:


Retain employees


Making work structures more flexible


Attract new employees

*Top 3 responses. Respondents could choose 3 answers from 13 options.

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Turning optimisation and digitalisation investments into real growth opportunities means making tech a central component of all strategic decision-making. However, without a workforce rich in tech talent, even the most innovative and forward-thinking strategies will fall short.

To beat the competition for these in-demand skills, you need to understand the wants and needs of those who possess them. What do these professionals expect, and to what extent do such expectations align with current organisational strategy in EMEA?

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